Thursday, July 7, 2011

A day at the Alhambra Palace

When Sally turned 60, she said she wanted to see the Taj Mahal for her birthday present. While I wasn't partucularly keen about travelling to Índia...I agreed to go and take her there for her birthday. It was a trip we will never forget

For some time, Sally has also harboured a desire to see the Alhambra in Granada. I suspect one of her friends told her that it was something she had to see. While we had not planned to go to the south of Spain, rather than spend our last week on the Costa Blanca, we decided to book a train ticket to Seville where we would stay for a few days, and from where we could do a day trip to Granada.

And so at 6:15 on Canada Day we set off from our hotel near Santa Cruz for the Seville train station and boarded the 6:55 train for Granada.

While the trip was not quite as challenging as getting to Agra, the weather did seem almost as hot, and after a few hours discovering some very nice parts of Granada's downtown, and some tapas for lunch, we set off for Alhambra.

Whie it was not quite as exquisite or elaborate as I had expected, it was very impressive. The complex was sarted by the Moors in the 11th century and seized by the Christians in January 1492 (a year during which quite a lot happened in Spain). The Christians under various rulers have made many changes and carried out numerous additions to the complex. While Napoleon is reported to have tried to destroy the Alhambra, it has somehow managed to remain remarkably intact over the centuries.

Alhambra is a lot like an architectural history textbook with many styles on display. But it also could be a textbook for landscape architects since the landscaped grounds, with the many water features are outstanding.

It took about three hours to tour about. We could have spent more time but the temperature was in the very high 30's and having gone to bed late the night before, and not having slept as well as we would have liked for fear of sleeping in, by 5 pm we were getting weary. So we returned to the very lively and attractive streets of Granada for some sangria and air conditioned shopping. (I know...what a terrible thing to have to of the most beautiful places in the world and we left to go for sangria and shopping.)

I now write this from the train as we head home. We'll arive at midnight, making for quite a long day. But like our trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal, I suspect this is another day we won't forget for a long time. And it wasn't even Sally's birthday!


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